Kokur Yakhni | Chicken in Yoghurt and Saffron Gravy

This delicious chicken curry dish is from Romy Gill’s ‘On The Himalayan Trail’ cookbook. Yoghurt, saffron and a heady mix of spices meld beautifully into the yoghurt gravy, creating a fragrant and warming dish.

Instead of a whole chicken, we made this using chicken thighs, which worked really well.

Kokur Yakhni - Chicken in Yoghurt and Saffron Gravy

Read our full review of On The Himalayan Trail by Romy Gill.

Kokur Yakhni (Chicken Cooked in Yoghurt and Saffron Gravy)

This recipe is a labour of love. My dad’s colleague used to cook it for us whenever there were celebrations. It requires patience, but the result is just superb. The chicken is boiled in milk, which makes it tender, and the warmth of the spices, yoghurt and saffron make it deliciously flavourful.
Servings 6
Author Romy Gill


  • 1.5 kg (3 lb 5 oz) whole chicken, skin removed, cut into pieces
  • 500 ml (17 fl oz / 2 cups) water
  • teaspoons salt
  • 4 teaspoons ghee
  • 3 dried bay leaves
  • 8 cm (3 in) cinnamon stick
  • 4 whole cloves, crushed
  • 6 green cardamom pods
  • 2 black cardamom pods
  • 10 g (½ oz) garlic, crushed to a paste
  • 2 teaspoons shallot paste
  • 2 teaspoons ver masala (see note)
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 200 g (7 oz / generous ¾ cup) greek yoghurt, whisked
  • ½ teaspoon saffron strands (soaked in 100 ml (3½fl oz/scant ½ cup) lukewarm full-fat milk
  • steamed rice to serve


Vers Masala is a Kashmiri spice blend traditionally stored in small tablets or cakes. 


  • Place the chicken pieces in a large pan with the measured water and ½ teaspoon of the salt. Bring to the boil and simmer for 30 minutes until the meat is half cooked. Remove any scum that rises to the surface. Drain the chicken pieces and set aside.
  • Heat the ghee in a separate large pan with a lid over a high heat. Add the bay leaves and whole spices and fry for 1 minute, then add the garlic paste, shallot paste, ver masala, turmeric, ginger and the remaining 1 teaspoon of salt. Stir well, then add the chicken pieces. Stir to combine and cook for 4–5 minutes.
  • Reduce the heat to low, add the whisked yoghurt and saffron milk, gently whisking so the yoghurt doesn’t curdle. Cover and cook for 15 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through.
  • Serve hot with freshly cooked rice.

Kokur Yakhni - Chicken in Yoghurt and Saffron Gravy

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Kavey Eats received a review copy of this book from publishers Hardie Grant. This recipe is published with permission. Book photography by Matt Russell and Poras Chaudhary.

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